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Shadow of the Oaks

As soon as I saw it, I wished I hadn't.

There was something deadly ominous about the darkened room. Bare wood floors, panelled wood walls, slices of weak light coming in through the long, autumnal windows. Funereal. I could hardly process it. 

A sign.

The room was empty, the service cancelled, the food and drink all dried up. Finished. 

It was our last day in New York, and we had returned to the Oak Room at The Plaza to toast Dad with a negroni. At this stage, when we knew he was fading, each negroni seemed like a communion

The Plaza was one of the places him and mum had honeymooned. The last time we'd been in NYC, with kids in tow, we had blown a couple of hundred dollars on fancy burgers and lemonades for the kids, and champagne and wine with dinner for us. Spending mum and dad's trip gift money. 

That was nearly 5 years earlier. We had taken our girl to look for Eloise, the little literary inhabitant of the Plaza Hotel. The doorman played along, telling us she had only just been downstairs earlier that day. The Oak Room was glowing, and through the windows we could see the lights coming on near the edge of Central Park as we stayed until dark.

But this time, the darkened room stopped me in my tracks. I tried to resist the suggestion: he is dead, it's over. My bloke rushed into my headspace, saying, it's not closed, they're just doing renovations. This slim hope I held onto. Yes, rejuvenation, rebirth, it's not over.

But there were no drinks to be had there, no toasts to good health, no negroni glowing warm red life over ice cubes. No 'cheers!' 

An empty space and fading memories, though it sounds mournful and cliched. I could feel the absence. I felt melodramatic and panicked, as I fought against the inevitability.

The next day we flew home, across the world, and too late, into it. The absence. 

So, here's cheers to the balm, and to holding fast to the memories. That darkened wood room will remain like a coffin, sealed fast, until we return to New York and toast life and love in The Oak Room again.

Negronis, post Dad's farewell. Wattle Park Gardens, Melbourne.

For the next trip, The Plaza Hotel, New York City 

An Infographic History of The Plaza Hotel


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your small and lovely comment! A little gift x

  2. I love your writing it's gorgeous.

    1. Why thank you Claire, that is so kind of you to comment. Thanks for popping by!


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